Elderberries (Sambucus) are one of the most effective remedies for viral and bacterial infections such as colds and flu and can substantially shorten the duration of your illness if you get sick. Do not eat the raw berry, use a prepared remedy.

They contain special proteins and bioflavonoids that have the ability to destroy viruses on contact that infect cells in the body.

Elderberries also are known to have the ability to significantly enhance immune function by boosting the production of cytokines in the body.

They also are very beneficial for bronchial and respiratory problems and can help loosen and expel congestion in the lungs.

Elderberry juice is known to relieve neurological spasms and tics in the face and body as well as alleviate pain of neurological conditions such as sciatica.

Sambucol, a type of elderberry extract, has potent antioxidant abilities and has been shown to increase the production of lymphocytes or immune cells which are needed to fight off infection and are particularly beneficial for shingles, hepatitis, HIV, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and heart and cardiovascular conditions.

Do not consume raw berries, can induce vomiting and diarrhea. Can occasionally cause a mild allergic reaction – consult your healthcare professional if you think you are having a reaction. Consult you’re healthcare professional if you have an autoimmune condition as elderberry may stimulate the immune system. Do not take if you have had an organ transplant. Do not take if pregnant or breastfeeding. Not recommended for children.

Elderberry syrup is a popular cold and flu remedy typically formulated in a honey or gylcerin base making it a sweet remedy.

Elderberry tinctures and capsules are another convenient way to use this powerful berry in your health regime. Elderberry products can be found online or at your local health food store.

The prize for growing elderberries is the fragrant, edible flowers and the delicious fruits. The dark purple berries contain vitamins A and B, and more vitamin C than oranges. They are also high in cancer-fighting antioxidants.

They are tasty when used in juices, jellies, jams, teas, pies, and wine. You can use the umbrella-shaped, elderberry blossoms for making a delicious fritters or even champagne. If you don’t want to eat the berries, the birds certainly will love them.

Growing Elderberry

<-Elderberry Tree … 22 years old

Elderberries are one of the easiest and most versatile shrubs to grow in your edible landscape.

These Central European and North American natives are often found growing wild along roadsides, forest edges, and abandoned fields.

Growing elderberries is not all that difficult. They can tolerate different conditions like soil that is in poor condition or soil that is too wet. One thing growing elderberries cannot tolerate, however, is drought.

Elderberries are easily propagated by digging up and replanting the suckers. Or by growing from cuttings. Be aware that because elderberries sucker so readily, the suckers will need to be pulled or dug out at least once a year to prevent the elderberry from spreading beyond its bounds.

Elderberries do contain poisonous cyanic compounds contained in the stems, leaves, roots, and seeds. Uncooked berries produce a dark purple juice and are astringent and inedible, but when processed impart a sweet, earthy flavor. The berries are edible when they’re ripe and cooked.

A handful of uncooked elderberries will generally have no ill effects, but if you eat too many, especially on an empty stomach, you’ll likely get sick. The flowers are also edible, and have also traditionally been used to lightly flavor fritters, pancakes, scones, and cakes.

Wash the berries to remove chaff that may be mixed in with them by gently filling a bowl with water until there is about an inch of water above the berries. Run your hand carefully through the berries without damaging them, since the water is holding a lot of their weight. More chaff (stems, bits of leaf, dried flower bits, etc.) will rise to the surface. This can be easily skimmed off with a sieve which you want to do as the stems and leaves of elderberry can poison you.

If you don’t have time to turn the elderberries into jam until a few days later, as in our case, when you get them washed and cleaned, you can freeze them until you’re ready to turn them into jam. Gently scoop handfuls of berries out of the water, and place them in freezer containers or freezer bags, and freeze.

Harvest elderberry fruit from August to September, depending on the variety. Let fruits ripen on the shrub to a dark purple color. Prune off the entire cluster when ripe and strip the berries into a bowl.

The fruit doesn’t store well at room temperature, so keep it refrigerated after harvest and process the berries as soon as possible. You can expect yields of 12 to 15 pounds of fruit per mature (3- or 4-year-old) shrub, if grown properly.

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